May 10, 2007

Citizen Fish kicks off their half of the split with some skatomatic horn goodness. Their brand of ska-punk utilizes its horns and up-strokes with just enough precision to get you up and skanking, but not so over the top that they become cloying. Citizen Fish aren’t really all that far removed from their sister band the Subhumans in producing intense yet memorable punk rock (at least on this release). Favorite tracks on this half have to be “Working on the Inside” and “Meltdown,” although both unfortunately engage in dangerous leftist rabble rousing (why won’t people learn to just let the smart people in charge to take care of everything?). Citizen Fish also takes a stab at covering Leftöver Crack’s “Clear Channel (Fuck Off!)” and Choking Victims’ “Money.” Both of these covers come off quite well because they maintain the original versions’ spirit but manage to sound uniquely different, in that they get a more minimalist but just as raw sounding Citizen Fish makeover. Leftöver Crack is in fine form, too. I’m a huge fan of their last effort Fuck World Trade, but where that was almost operatic with its expansive-sounding production and arrangements, this batch of songs has a more straight-ahead, back-to-basics vibe going on (except for the chorus of “World War 4” which sounds pretty damn epic). Stza still carries every song vocally, but he seems not quite as fierce this time out. Instead, every song’s main hook kicks in when somebody else takes over on vocals for a little bit, like when Brad or Ezra step in for a chorus or verse. “Baby-Punchers,” in particular, features a near perfect guest spot from Jello Biafra that almost makes the song twist apart with manic tension. At the end of their side, L.O.C. takes a shot at covering a song apiece from Citizen Fish and the Subhumans. All in all, this album provides a good soundtrack to dance to as the apocalypse approaches (which should really start to hit around 2050, according to the news article I just saw about global warming). Sigh… I guess it was a nice enough Earth while it lasted.

 –Adrian (Fat Wreck Chords)